Tuesday, April 19, 2011

IITian leaves Fortune 500 company for rural welfare

From a government school at a nondescript village in Sikar district to Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-K), this youngster has come a long way. Born to a humble farmer's family, Rohit Garhwal now cherishes a dream of developing an international platform for the traditional agriculture art and craft forms and agriculture and minimise the exodus of rural talent to cities.

To achieve his dream, the 25-year-old has quit plush jobs at an MNC and an NGO to study at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A). "IIM-A offers incubation centre for social ventures. Here, I will like to construct a model of branding products made by villagers and taking them in international markets," said Rohit, who has secured a seat in the most prestigious management school, the result of which was announced on Friday afternoon.

Leaving behind the luxuries of an MNC job earned after receiving a degree in aerospace engineering from the most sought after IIT at Kharagpur, Rohit has taken the first big leap towards translating his dream into reality by securing the seat.

He had already started the groundwork travelling daily from one dusty village to another on the state roadways bus to the hinterland of Sikar, presiding over small public gatherings, explaining to the villagers the need for education and healthcare to alleviate their social and economic status.

Rohit now plans to take his work to a higher level after completing his IIM-A course. An alumnus of the IIT-K 2008 batch, Rohit was employed by a financial firm listed in Fortune 500 companies. He called it quits a year later worn out by the daily rigours of explaining and devising business models.

Back home, the IITian, being from a farming background and a strong advocator of inclusive growth, ventured in social entrepreneurship. He joined as consultant of an NGO Helplads. Using his technical skill, Rohit organised workshops on themes ranging from the basics of a computer to robotics for village children. "I plan fund-raising activities along with developing business models for small-time social entrepreneurs in this region," Rohit said.

Inspired by other IIM students who have turned entrepreneurs, he said he was determined to find a way to help the rural people. "I am very worried of the migration of villagers to small towns and cities abandoning their agricultural and traditional art and craft practices. I would like to use my technical expertise and management tools to create a self-reliant environment for them," Rohit added.

Source: The Economic Times (Online Edition), April 19, 2011

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